Nurse Scientist Named into International Researcher Hall of Fame
USF College of Nursing Professor Cecile Lengacher, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAPOS, will be awarded one of nursing’s highest professional achievements this summer when she is inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.
Nursing honor society Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) recently announced Dr. Lengacher will join 22 other nurse scientists in its latest class of honorees. The winners represent Australia, Canada, Sweden, and the United States.
The lifetime commendation recognizes nurse scientists whose work has made a significant and sustained impact on global health and a positive influence on others through mentorship.
“I’m very grateful and very humble,” said Dr. Lengacher. “This wonderful honor is the international recognition of my research supporting the significance of complementary alternative approaches to assist cancer patients. This is the highest honor I could ever receive in nursing.”
The induction ceremony will take place during the organization’s 30th International Nursing Research Congress in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in July.
For 25 years, Dr. Lengacher has been a nurse scientist at USF. She is also holds the Lyall and Beatrice Thompson Nursing Professorship in Oncology.
Her distinguished investigative career has focused on bio-behavioral clinical trial intervention research, including psycho-oncology, psychoneuroimmunology, and complementary alternative medicine (CAM), emphasizing the link between physiological, cognitive and psychological outcomes among cancer survivors and caregivers.
Dr. Lengacher has the full support of Victoria L. Rich, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the USF College of Nursing, as well as Usha Menon, PhD, RN, FAAN, vice dean of research for the college. “Dr. Menon and I are so proud of Dr. Lengacher and the important work she is doing. She sets the standard for nursing research, and she is a remarkable role model for our students. Our college benefits from her knowledge and experience every day,” said Dr. Rich.
As a result of Dr. Lengacher’s research, she has transformed models of care for delivery of mindfulness-based stress reduction, providing scientific evidence for improvement of symptoms and biological effects of this non-pharmacological treatment for patients and caregivers.
As a faculty member at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, she serves in its programs of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Clinical, and Population Sciences Division and Integrative Medicine.
Dr. Lengacher said she is proud to be named among peers who have moved nursing and nursing research forward on the world stage.
“I am so grateful, but also honored to be recognized for my contributions to the advancement of science benefiting women’s health,” she said.
Her research funding dollars have totaled $7.2 million, including grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Currently she is a grant reviewer on numerous NIH review boards and the French International Foundation ARSEP-MS Research Society and the Dutch International Cancer Society.
Dr. Lengacher is a fellow in the American Psychosocial Oncology Society and the American Academy of Nursing and won notable distinctions such as the Women’s Health Research Award from the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health.
In a letter of recommendation, Margaret Heitkemper, RN, PhD, FAAN, a professor and nurse researcher at the University of Washington’s School of Nursing, attested to Dr. Lengacher’s significant contributions, including research findings that have influenced practice and her commitment to mentoring young nurse scientists.
“Dr. Lengacher continues a robust research program with the inclusion of genetics and psychoneuroimmunology. (She) exceeds the criteria for this award, and will serve as an exemplary representative in the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame,” wrote Dr. Heitkemper, who is also a Hall of Famer.
Another prominent nurse researcher described how Dr. Lengacher’s work has changed the care of cancer patients.
“She was a pioneer in using mindfulness based interventions in alleviating symptoms in breast cancer patients focusing on cognitive impairment in both early and late stage disease,” wrote Victoria Champion, PhD, RN, FAAN, a distinguished professor at the Indiana University School of Nursing.
She said Dr. Lengacher has been a “true leader” in symptom management of breast cancer patients and has trained the next generation of nursing and interdisciplinary scientists.
“I can think of no one more qualified for induction to the Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame than Dr. Lengacher.”
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing